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September 16, 2005
Bush Accidentally Delivers Rejected Draft Speech
by Scott Ott

(2005-09-16) -- The White House communications team scrambled this morning to explain how President George Bush accidentally delivered a rejected draft speech in New Orleans last night on national TV.

White House Communications Director Dan Bartlett said he still does not know how the text of an address he had personally rejected as "too DNC" wound up in the president's hands last night.

Many Republicans reacted in shock as all of America heard Mr. Bush promising a series of federal interventions and taxpayer-cash infusions that they said will accelerate the growth of the budget deficit, postpone the administration's commitment to tax cuts and reinforce the "culture of dependency" that conservatives claim to loathe.

As proof of the manuscript mix up, Mr. Bartlett distributed to reporters the text of the speech Mr. Bush should have given.

"My fellow Americans, we have an opportunity to rebuild a region that was devastated by a flood this month, and to renew an American spirit that has been slowly destroyed over six decades."

"The ground in many areas was swept clean, and those returning to plots of land where homes once stood will build a new life from the ground up."

"But as reconstruction begins, rest assured that we're not merely going to re-establish the conditions that led to such deep pockets of poverty in the midst of affluence. We're not going to continue the enslavement of the poor at the hands of seemingly-benevolent politicians who fail to understand the power of faith, freedom and personal responsibility to build vibrant communities on a foundation of strong families."

"In the words of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., it's time to "let freedom ring." It's time to let this area of the south rise up and live out the true meaning of our creed."

"When Dr. King gave his most famous speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial he said the founders of this nation signed "a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the 'unalienable Rights' of 'Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness'."

"Dr. King said the civil rights movement was an effort to 'cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice'."

"But today, Dr. King's dream remains unfulfilled for many in the richest land the world has ever seen, because government has substituted one bad check for another. We have replaced the promissory note of freedom and justice, with the public assistance check. The problem is that this new check actually does provide something...a little money. But that government money is counterfeit. It's a cheap replica of a paycheck. It fills the belly, but empties the soul. It buys things, but only in exchange for life, liberty and happiness."

"As Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi rebuild, we're not going to replicate a system in which the government tries to play the provider role of a husband and father. And we will not rebuild programs that reward infidelity, subsidize the drug dealers and strip the dignity of people until they become like animals in a factory farm--trapped in cages, helplessly waiting for the trough to refill."

"Our nation was not built with this kind of system. No nation can long survive its devastating effects."

"There is a principle in our representative republic that the farther away decisions are made, the less effective they are and the more prone to corruption. In other words, a bunch of legislators and bureaucrats in Washington D.C. don't know what's needed and how to provide it as well as you and your neighbors do right there in your hometown. Proximity breeds accountability."

"So, what can a president, or a federal government do. I'll summarize it in three steps...lead, follow and get out of the way:

1) We will lead survivors of the hurricane to embrace the vision and tenacity of the people who conquered the wilderness and built this great nation. We will provide a constant reminder to them that they will, some day soon, look back on this recovery effort with a sense of gratitude and accomplishment -- not because the federal government bailed them out, but because they pulled together in families and communities, across racial and political lines, to get the job done. Leadership is about inspiring new leaders. In the wake of this storm, many new leaders will rise from the mud and rubble, and they will transform the region.

2) Secondly, the federal government will not bypass or try to supplant the role of community groups, churches, private organizations, local and state governments. Rather we will follow them and pick up the responsibilities that nothing short of federal intervention can handle. You may be surprised at how small that role can be.

3) Finally, and most importantly, the federal government will get out of the way. We will knock down bureacratic barriers to progress, eliminate oppressive regulations and lift the burden of confiscatory taxes in the region affected by the hurricane."

"The spirit of America is a spirit of dependence upon our creator, partnership with our neighbor and rugged independence from government interference. Over the past six decades, thanks to government policies, many people have lost touch with that spirit. Generations have been born knowing the American spirit only as stories in a history if they were describing some other land, some alien people."

"Words like 'pioneer', 'trailblazer' and 'settler' are distant shadows, replaced by words like 'victim', 'refugee', 'recipient', 'dependent'."

"Sometimes I wonder how much greater America would be if we had not been dragged down for the first four score and seven years by our addiction to slavery. I wonder how much more magnificent our nation might have been if the poisonous effects of racial injustice hadn't lingered so long after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation."

"What if we had started this country with freedom and justice for all?"

In a sense, that's what can happen here in the South. Our brothers and sisters will rebuild these communities from the ground up, but on more solid ground. They'll build on a better foundation. And they will remind us of what this nation is made of, and of what it can be. In the process, they will become an inspiration to all of those around the world who still yearn for freedom and justice."

"Tonight, here in New Orleans, as I stand in a devastated region...I see the new American frontier. The gates of opportunity swing wide and my fellow Americans have a chance to build great cities and communities using equipment and methods that the early pioneers couldn't even dream of. It's a new frontier rich in resources, with equal opportunity and equal justice for all."

"Thank you. God bless you. And may God continue to bless the United States of America."

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